I could’ve died.
Out of happiness, that is. Surrounded by friends accumulated through the first twenty or so years of my life. My best bud, who I met at age one. He pulled me out of a rip once. A smattering of kindergarten mates. Friends from New Entrants and primary school. My friend whose Malaysian family practically adopted me ages 11 through 17. Community theatre friends. The gal who’s tying the knot tomorrow. Close university friends. The guys I flatted with, three doors down from my parents’ place. My Magic/board gaming buddies. Old high school friends I hadn’t seen in years. Friends’ new boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives. A table covered in salads, deliciously marinated chicken, a delectably charred side of barbecued beef. Endlessly flowing wine, beer, cider and spirits. One room crammed with my favourite people in the world.
I could’ve died happy right then.
There was a sensation that’s hard to describe and I’m not sure I’ve ever felt it so acutely. Standing in the kitchen having fixed a drink, I looked around and was stunned, deer-in-headlights-style. I didn’t know where to go. I could take a step in any direction and be engrossed in conversation with anybody in that room. Every single person there was someone I could’ve eagerly spent hours talking to. The fact that I couldn’t have dense quality time with had me almost paralytic. Fear Of Missing Out in its most profound. A special concoction of anxiety interleaved with high-octane bliss. I was having trouble functioning because I was so monstrously enraptured. Whittling away the moments I had by mourning the time I never would.
So I flitted around, airborne on whimsy. I stopped haphazardly, in love with every conversation I had no matter how short. I got distracted and jumped from friend to friend, like a frog adrift in a pond covered with lush lily pads. I breathed in the most exquisite snuff of old memories. Had I the chance to relive that night ad infinitum, I could have never lived another and died happy.
I decided not to read my speech, ill-content to cause anything that could jostle the evening’s calm sailing. Until I was press ganged into it. Decades worth of goodwill led attendees to sit through my sub-ten minute speech. It was heartfelt, earnest and surprisingly well received. Then the music came back on and I was shaking with something resembling eternal contentment. Hashtag blissed.
If fate deigned a moment for me to go, it could nary choose better.